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Old 29 October 2008, 01:54   #81
RichAplin
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Eh? Speak up! ..What's for Tea you say?? Tea... that's... no, wait a minute, I'm thinking of a tree. It's a drink.. yes? like the Queen? Oh yes, the Queen. lovely woman - I voted for her. Time for my nap, yes. Where's me false teeth gone?




Today I found on YouTube a video of a PSX game that I'd completely forgotten about. It did explain what I was doing from 1998-9 though, which is a bonus.

mmm DD2, yes I remember the address error thing, and encrypting each file individually and stuff like that. I think I spent nearly a week on it, having fun. After Weetibix cracked that I didn't bother to do anything other than write (juvenile) startup-sequence comments instead. ;-p

Nobody seemed to notice that I wrote games and game copiers at the same time (Cyclone hardware copier was me too), I think nowadays it might be seen as a bit of an ethical gray area. ;-)

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Old 29 October 2008, 02:06   #82
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Eh? Speak up! ..What's for Tea you say?? Tea... that's... no, wait a minute, I'm thinking of a tree. It's a drink.. yes? like the Queen? Oh yes, the Queen. lovely woman - I voted for her. Time for my nap, yes. Where's me false teeth gone?




Today I found on YouTube a video of a PSX game that I'd completely forgotten about. It did explain what I was doing from 1998-9 though, which is a bonus.

mmm DD2, yes I remember the address error thing, and encrypting each file individually and stuff like that. I think I spent nearly a week on it, having fun. After Weetibix cracked that I didn't bother to do anything other than write (juvenile) startup-sequence comments instead. ;-p

Nobody seemed to notice that I wrote games and game copiers at the same time (Cyclone hardware copier was me too), I think nowadays it might be seen as a bit of an ethical gray area. ;-)
From what I remember, it still took nearly a week before Weetibix did it 100%. I think Vision Factory had a crack (hoho!), but they gave up on it.

Annoyingly, it was the protection that stopped it working on AGA machines!

I must admit, we did like your startup-sequences, especially the digs at Tiertex, christ only fucking knows how those idiots got work!

Did Cyclone copy Double Dragon 2 then?
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Old 29 October 2008, 02:40   #83
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Mmm I remember people being a bit unhappy about the AGA thing at the time, although I don't know if it was the protection as much as me just getting some register setup wrong that I doubtless would've got wrong anyway.

Actually I don't think I ever tried copying DD2 with cyclone; I don't recall using any crazy long tracks or wierd tricks on DD2 disk format (the duplicators hated it and hence the publishers hated it, boo) other than the usual long track protection.
I think with Final Fight and Line Of Fire I just used regular amigados sectors and file format 'cos copy protection just wasn't the fun it used to be. ;-)
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Old 29 October 2008, 04:53   #84
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If I recall correctly it has been cracked a month after release which is not that bad.
Not that bad??

A day after release is bad let alone a month.

I'd like to welcome Richard Aplin to the forums, I'm sure all of us have enjoyed one (or more) of your titles at some stage or another. I was particularly impressed with the job you did on Final Fight.

Edit: You may enjoy this link Richard: http://members.tripod.com/whdloadrul...artup_seq.html

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Old 29 October 2008, 08:54   #85
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Yes, welcome Richard. I've still got an auto-switch Cyclone hanging off the back of my A500 today
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Old 29 October 2008, 23:32   #86
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hahaha yes the startup-sequences. :-)
Funny, & more than a bit cringeworthy to read nowadays. Heh I remember writing those (I used an A500+A590 running cygnus ed, then downloading code to a second a500 or ST over parallel cable), and the frickin' hidden video bit in Final Fight will I think haunt me forever.

Mm thanks for the nice comments, I honestly don't think they were very good as _games_, as multiple reviewers have pointed out. I was just in it for the geeky fun. DD1 was no fun at all, just an emergency port of the ST version that someone else started and I pushed out the door.
DD2 had a bit more time spent on it, the ST guy (Gary Vine) wrote the basic game and I did the Amiga port and spent some time on the bells'n'whistles.

At some point Line Of Fire got done which was never going to be any good (but again hacking the arcade board was fun). The last Amiga game I did I think was Final Fight, which was definitely the most elaborate and had most time spent on it. Remember all this stuff was redone totally from scratch in assembler by one person in just a few months, and I spent a chunk of time ripping all the graphics out of the board EPROMS (and all the sprite animation and all planes of the background map data too) followed by the much harder task of ripping all the game data (background character maps, sprite character maps, animation sequences, color palettes, etc).

This was total sex; at one point I had any individual sprite original arcade graphics displaying on the Amiga in nearly perfect quality... but with 32colours for the whole screen compared to 16-colors-per-16x16-cell there was no choice but to heavily remap the colours them in order to make an actual game. (btw, I long since lost the original files but they could be re-ripped from the MAME roms fairly easily)

I kept absolutely everything I could; nothing was scaled down in size and I went through hand-picking which sprite frames should be kept to keep things looking ok. I considered scaling everything down to save space, but I wanted Big Fucking Sprites, dammit! (and we'd have had to scale everything else like the backgrounds too)

Alas, having perfect graphics was great but the Amiga just couldn't do it; dual-playfield scrolling was never much use considering the cost of using it, so the parallax had to go. I seem to remember that I ran the game in 32-color mode (5 bitplanes) and used 16 colours for the backgrounds and a separate 16 for the sprites, so everything fitted in nicely, but the lack of overall colour depth is a real shame.

The parallax backgrounds all had to be collapsed by hand into a single tile-map and then (ack) slashed down to 16 colors.

Then came a bunch of complicated (nowadays mundane) tricks to make the sprites workable; the game dynamically loads them and decompresses them in the background as they're coming on screen, and has a defragmenting memory manager to keep things from clogging up.

Alas the gameplay sucked, and it would have been great to have either had the original source (porting the AI would have been easy...) or another programmer to do it; but if you think about only a subsection of the UK videogames industry were interesting in making really playable games.
I recall being very interested in hardware, chipsets, and hacking arcade boards, and not very interested in if Haggar's Piledriver move really felt right.

I do recall sitting there one night disassembling the board roms and working out if it was at all practical to try to port (from a disassembly) the game code from the original.
I loved this idea b/c it was far more geeky and "less work" (i.e. I didn't have to write and debug gameplay code)
The answer? God no! The original Final Fight was I recall largely written in C (hence hell to disassemble), and the code and data roms alone (no gfx) were 512K I think, so the idea it was pretty much killed after a few hours of poking around.

Yay nostalgia, it never gets old. Unlike me. ;-) </ramble>
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Old 30 October 2008, 00:18   #87
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I always appreciated the games you did, put it this way, you're not very happy with some of the results, but if they'd be put in less capable hands, they'd be a mere shadow of yours, at least you gave a toss and tried. Tiertex and the like simply didn't ever bother.

DD2 has always been a favourite of mine, it has enough polish on it that it feels like more effort was made.

The hiscore with the sliding tiles, the smoothly scrolling logo at the start, the nice font for the vertical credits scroller, sound effects that had a bit of meat, the title music, just all helped to feel that perhaps the extra £100 I spent buying the Amiga instead of the ST was worthwhile after all.

...and then another poxy US Gold game comes along to spoil your day.

I mean for christsakes, there was a Tiertex game that had a copper shaded backdrop.... except it wasn't copper at all, they'd actually fucking drawn it instead!

I don't think ANYTHING those muppets did utilised the Amiga at all, very sad.

So what made you move on then Richard? I mean, the Amiga by the time of Final Fight still had another 3 years left of profit to be dragged out of it before it started its decline in 1994, or had you already moved onto other formats by then?

I know some moan at your version of Final Fight, but although it didn't have everything in it, it had more than I expected, such was the dirge being put out by others.

I take it all your Amiga code is all long gone now?
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Old 30 October 2008, 11:03   #88
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Sounds like a fun a job hacking arcade boards and messing about with Amigas.
I used to like Final Fight I still play it sometimes its on my A1200 boot menu I just wish there was a whdload patch for second button jump - .I think the AI is sound and its not a bad conversion and that video of you when you push help!But the graphics havent aged as well as some other conversions but it total different hardware.
Its a shame you havent got the Source anymore can you give anything away about what format the sprites are stored in?
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Old 30 October 2008, 12:18   #89
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Originally Posted by Galahad/FLT View Post
BC Kid for instance was impossible to put onto 1 disk, I know, because I cracked it for Dual Crew Shining.
Don't you remember the 1 disk version I did? I used that load routine which wasn't track or sector dependant, the one where you can specify your reading point and reading length within a byte.... Anyway, my version was done like a year after it was released and not to take anything away from Galahad because the guy is a legend, taught me everything I knew about cracking.
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Old 30 October 2008, 13:10   #90
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Don't you remember the 1 disk version I did? I used that load routine which wasn't track or sector dependant, the one where you can specify your reading point and reading length within a byte.... Anyway, my version was done like a year after it was released and not to take anything away from Galahad because the guy is a legend, taught me everything I knew about cracking.
Just curious, which cruncher did you use the recrunch the files? I couldn't find any back then which was able to squeeze everything into 880k. Doing a full 1 disk version of that game is impossible IMHO. (Full as in: No files like intro anim ect. removed!).
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Old 30 October 2008, 13:40   #91
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Originally Posted by RichAplin View Post
hahaha yes the startup-sequences. :-)
Funny, & more than a bit cringeworthy to read nowadays. Heh I remember writing those (I used an A500+A590 running cygnus ed, then downloading code to a second a500 or ST over parallel cable), and the frickin' hidden video bit in Final Fight will I think haunt me forever.

Mm thanks for the nice comments, I honestly don't think they were very good as _games_, as multiple reviewers have pointed out. I was just in it for the geeky fun. DD1 was no fun at all, just an emergency port of the ST version that someone else started and I pushed out the door.
DD2 had a bit more time spent on it, the ST guy (Gary Vine) wrote the basic game and I did the Amiga port and spent some time on the bells'n'whistles.

At some point Line Of Fire got done which was never going to be any good (but again hacking the arcade board was fun). The last Amiga game I did I think was Final Fight, which was definitely the most elaborate and had most time spent on it. Remember all this stuff was redone totally from scratch in assembler by one person in just a few months, and I spent a chunk of time ripping all the graphics out of the board EPROMS (and all the sprite animation and all planes of the background map data too) followed by the much harder task of ripping all the game data (background character maps, sprite character maps, animation sequences, color palettes, etc).

This was total sex; at one point I had any individual sprite original arcade graphics displaying on the Amiga in nearly perfect quality... but with 32colours for the whole screen compared to 16-colors-per-16x16-cell there was no choice but to heavily remap the colours them in order to make an actual game. (btw, I long since lost the original files but they could be re-ripped from the MAME roms fairly easily)

I kept absolutely everything I could; nothing was scaled down in size and I went through hand-picking which sprite frames should be kept to keep things looking ok. I considered scaling everything down to save space, but I wanted Big Fucking Sprites, dammit! (and we'd have had to scale everything else like the backgrounds too)

Alas, having perfect graphics was great but the Amiga just couldn't do it; dual-playfield scrolling was never much use considering the cost of using it, so the parallax had to go. I seem to remember that I ran the game in 32-color mode (5 bitplanes) and used 16 colours for the backgrounds and a separate 16 for the sprites, so everything fitted in nicely, but the lack of overall colour depth is a real shame.

The parallax backgrounds all had to be collapsed by hand into a single tile-map and then (ack) slashed down to 16 colors.

Then came a bunch of complicated (nowadays mundane) tricks to make the sprites workable; the game dynamically loads them and decompresses them in the background as they're coming on screen, and has a defragmenting memory manager to keep things from clogging up.

Alas the gameplay sucked, and it would have been great to have either had the original source (porting the AI would have been easy...) or another programmer to do it; but if you think about only a subsection of the UK videogames industry were interesting in making really playable games.
I recall being very interested in hardware, chipsets, and hacking arcade boards, and not very interested in if Haggar's Piledriver move really felt right.

I do recall sitting there one night disassembling the board roms and working out if it was at all practical to try to port (from a disassembly) the game code from the original.
I loved this idea b/c it was far more geeky and "less work" (i.e. I didn't have to write and debug gameplay code)
The answer? God no! The original Final Fight was I recall largely written in C (hence hell to disassemble), and the code and data roms alone (no gfx) were 512K I think, so the idea it was pretty much killed after a few hours of poking around.

Yay nostalgia, it never gets old. Unlike me. ;-) </ramble>
Hi again,

well i had some fun at reading your startup sequences

About final fight, the rom code is pure ASM assembly, no C code whatsoever. BUT it's a sort of ASM different to the one we know on ST and amiga. The 68000 on final fight is just here to give instruction to the
maptile generator to push tiles in particular, a bit like on the genesis.
Final fight ASM code desassembly is 13mb.

I do personally reckon that Capcom never made your work more easy, since in those times the japanese were very protective of their own work.

At last i'd like to say something about the capcom color palettes. On CPS1 and CPS2 you can never have more than 256 colors at once on screen.
the most color you can have is around 190 colors as i have checked....

The neo-geo use a lot more color if we compare....

If you had more time, the only thing that the amiga version needed was
a recolouring since there was less colors.

I guess you had troubles with the 384x224 resolution used on the arcade original. but the solution here as some programmers
have done, is to restrain the horizontal resolution, but i guess it's not that easy.



PS : if you still have your amiga files or tricks to rip tiles in ROM via mame, we are interested ! We'd just love to rip with a method!
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Old 30 October 2008, 13:54   #92
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Just curious, which cruncher did you use the recrunch the files? I couldn't find any back then which was able to squeeze everything into 880k. Doing a full 1 disk version of that game is impossible IMHO. (Full as in: No files like intro anim ect. removed!).
Its defo possible, no removales. There is a loader which will load from any position on a disk, for example a sector loader will load in chunks of $400, which means you have empty space of around $400 for each file. This loader can load from any position on the disk. This means all that empty space is used. The parameters of the Factor 5 loader at almost identical to the loader I ripped, just placed the loader over the top of the one in the code, re-mapped the registered and hey presto, job done.
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Old 30 October 2008, 14:58   #93
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Its defo possible, no removales. There is a loader which will load from any position on a disk, for example a sector loader will load in chunks of $400, which means you have empty space of around $400 for each file. This loader can load from any position on the disk. This means all that empty space is used. The parameters of the Factor 5 loader at almost identical to the loader I ripped, just placed the loader over the top of the one in the code, re-mapped the registered and hey presto, job done.
As far as I remember mate, you did a HD Install version from it, I certainly don't remember a 1 disk version as I physically could not compress the data better than Factor 5 did.
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Old 30 October 2008, 15:49   #94
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Originally Posted by h0ffman View Post
Its defo possible, no removales. There is a loader which will load from any position on a disk, for example a sector loader will load in chunks of $400, which means you have empty space of around $400 for each file. This loader can load from any position on the disk. This means all that empty space is used. The parameters of the Factor 5 loader at almost identical to the loader I ripped, just placed the loader over the top of the one in the code, re-mapped the registered and hey presto, job done.
I know how the Factor 5 loader works and I also know what a byte loader is (my very own trackloader is one). However, I didn't ask about the loader, I wanted to know which cruncher made it possible to crunch the files so they would fit on an 880k disk. I tried it back then and could not find ANY cruncher which managed that. And I tried a lot. So I still wonder which cruncher you used...
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Old 30 October 2008, 16:25   #95
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Nope, he's hit the nail on the head me thinks. Loosing it in my old age me! Or, i just neglected to add the last sectors on the disk! ahahhaa
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Old 30 October 2008, 22:48   #96
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Its defo possible, no removales. There is a loader which will load from any position on a disk, for example a sector loader will load in chunks of $400, which means you have empty space of around $400 for each file. This loader can load from any position on the disk. This means all that empty space is used. The parameters of the Factor 5 loader at almost identical to the loader I ripped, just placed the loader over the top of the one in the code, re-mapped the registered and hey presto, job done.
You mean a sector loader will load in chunks of $200?
And it is possible to do a 1disk version of it now, but I don't think any 'public' cruncher would recrunch it so it would all fit on 1 disk at the time it was released
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Old 31 October 2008, 01:04   #97
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You mean a sector loader will load in chunks of $200?
And it is possible to do a 1disk version of it now, but I don't think any 'public' cruncher would recrunch it so it would all fit on 1 disk at the time it was released
I'd place a bet it won't, Factor 5's compressor is very impressive, in fact if I recall, when I used LZX to try and compress the disk image, the LZX archive couldn't touch it.
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Old 31 October 2008, 10:31   #98
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I'm guessing there cruncher would take into consideration what type of data it has to contend with, for example different set of principals for map and graphics data. For example, if your data only ever goes from 0 - 127, you've saved yourself 1/8 of the data size already by removing 1 bit.
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Old 31 October 2008, 16:29   #99
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You mean a sector loader will load in chunks of $200?
And it is possible to do a 1disk version of it now, but I don't think any 'public' cruncher would recrunch it so it would all fit on 1 disk at the time it was released
Nowadays it would be possible to do a 1 disk version per se but it wouldn't really be playable due to the high decrunching time.

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I'd place a bet it won't, Factor 5's compressor is very impressive, in fact if I recall, when I used LZX to try and compress the disk image, the LZX archive couldn't touch it.
Well, you should of course never pack already packed files as that's not really efficient. :P LZX manages to pack all the decrunched files down to something like 850k btw.
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Old 02 November 2008, 02:25   #100
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Hi again,
About final fight, the rom code is pure ASM assembly, no C code whatsoever. BUT it's a sort of ASM different to the one we know on ST and amiga. The 68000 on final fight is just here to give instruction to the
maptile generator to push tiles in particular, a bit like on the genesis.
Final fight ASM code desassembly is 13mb.
I totally stand corrected. Do you think it's possible to port the gameplay? I do remember looking at it and thinking "not practical, in the time, I have for multiple reasons".
Still, if I was wrong and it's practical, then.. damn, I wish I had. ;-)

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At last i'd like to say something about the capcom color palettes. On CPS1 and CPS2 you can never have more than 256 colors at once on screen.
the most color you can have is around 190 colors as i have checked....

The neo-geo use a lot more color if we compare....

If you had more time, the only thing that the amiga version needed was
a recolouring since there was less colors.
Hm well I did have all the original background planes extracted, with their correct palette information and everything. As you point out there are various practical problems, especially flattening the parallax planes together into something useful. Eventually some artists did it by hand.

It's a shame the color mapped stuff didn't look better but I think it was about as good as you can do and run the whole game at an acceptable speed on a 512k Amiga. Feel free to go prove me wrong ;-)


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PS : if you still have your amiga files or tricks to rip tiles in ROM via mame, we are interested ! We'd just love to rip with a method!
Well like most pre-2000ish arcade games the tiles are easy because they're stored in eproms as raw pixels, not compressed or anything, and read directly by the video hardware. You should be able to rip them from the mame sets easily.

So that gives you the tile sets as graphics and they should be clearly visible as graphics, what's a bit harder is to get out are the color palettes, animation sequences, and background graphics maps, but I don't think it was super-hard even in the days of working on a A500 with a couple of megs of ram. Go for it if you're interested!
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